INTO THE BADLANDS
Fourteen thousand years ago, rapid channel downcutting by glacial meltwater formed the dramatic coulees and hoodoos of the Canadian Badlands. At the heart of this region is one of the most unique towns in western Canada. Drumheller, Alberta, has an extensive history that feeds its distinctive present-day status. The unusual land formations provide an unforgettable first impression of a town whose tourism industry is the backbone of the economy; the eye-catching, forty-six-metre-tall T. Rex confirms this, and makes you realize you are no longer in Kansas anymore. Beyond the hype of the hoodoos and dinosaurs, Drumheller possesses a quaint downtown filled with the usual suspects (post office, bank, second-hand store, pizza parlor) as well as a charming art gallery. In 2004 the Canadian Badlands Artist Association opened the Badlands Gallery, mandated to “foster and enhance public awareness, understanding and appreciation for the positive cultural significance of the visual arts.” This is achieved through a strong membership of local artists, who exhibit within the space.
Eight years ago, TREX Southeast organized Out of the Badlands, an exhibition featuring the works from the Badlands Gallery. In 2016 TREX invited gallery members to exhibit once again, this time with a stipulation—create new work based on a proposed theme. While Out of the Badlands focused on the enchanting landscape within the region, the new proposed theme challenged participating artists to visually express unique aspects of the region from a “personal” perspective. The result is a selection of paintings and photographs that communicate each artist’s individual sense of place. Conveyed through the twenty-one works is the unique experience of small-town living along the Red Deer River valley. Farming, super moons, ghost finders, storms and water towers are just some of the subjects explored. The seven participating artists include Jim Carlson, Dianne Faulter, Bob Hamilton, Carrie Mashon, Ellen Nobel, Janice Russell and Lindsey Stead.